The Night Eats the World Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by Dominique Rocher
Written by Pit Agarmen (novel), Jérémie Guez (screenplay)
2018, 93 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest UK Premiere, 26th August 2018
DVD Released on 27th August 2018
Anders Danielsen Lie as Sam
Golshifteh Farahani as Sarah
Denis Lavant as Alfred
Sigrid Bouaziz as Fanny
Finding a new angle for a zombie film has got to be tough, but just when you think there is nowhere else to go, up pops director Dominique Rocher with an adaptation of the French novel by Pit Agarmen. The Night that Eats the World is a slow-burning character piece that may just be taking itself a little too seriously.
Sam (Danielsen Lie) turns up at an apartment building, where his ex-girlfriend is having a house party, to collect some of his belongings. When he becomes frustrated at being made to wait he wanders upstairs to find them himself, getting accidently whacked in the face by a drunken partygoer in the process. When he finds his stuff, he notices his nose is bleeding and falls asleep in a chair. He awakes to find himself all alone in the apartment, which is now inhabited by only the undead. Scared, he makes the decision to barricade himself in the building and goes about trying to give his new life a sense of routine.
The film asks the question; what would you really do in the event of a zombie outbreak? Well, probably not what Sam does is the answer. We all like to think we’d become the hero and search for survivors and try to find a sense of belonging again with our fellow man, but in reality fear would be a huge factor and Sam simply sets out to clear the house of the undead and set up a new home, not caring about what’s going on outside.
It’s this selfishness and lack of human spirit which makes it hard to get on board with Sam and care for him, and this is where the issue lies with the movie, you’re either with him on his journey or you’re not and where you stand will determine how much you enjoy it.
The first half of the film is enticing and often thought provoking as Sam makes efforts to go room by room, clearing the house of the undead, which is not unlike most mornings after a massive house party, and although it's fun to watch, once it becomes clear that he has no intention of venturing outside, instead choosing to raid each apartment for food, your empathy will fade away and what began as something fresh feeling becomes somber, and sometimes plain boring.
Anders Danielson Lie is a fantastic actor and much like Tom Hanks in Castaway he needs to fill the screen, which he does for the most part and it's fascinating to watch his character change, almost like body horror, as he loses weight, shaves his head and becomes someone new. It is also interesting to see how he goes about his day-to-day, blocking out the goings on of the world outside.
Denis Lavant plays an important role as Alfred, a zombie who is caught behind the gate of the apartment building's elevator. He becomes a therapist of sorts for Sam who confides in his new non-verbal friend. We become very fond of Alfred even though one wrong move and he’ll chomp on you like no one’s business.
The sound design is superb, whether it be the cracking of the zombie’s bones and muscles as they reach through windows and doors or the sounds of Sam creating music with household items. The Night Eats the World would probably have worked best as a short film, as even at 93 minutes it feels too long as it plays with interesting themes of loneliness, self reflection, depression and the effects of isolation.
So with so many zombie films out there, we finally get one with a difference but sometimes it's better the zombie you know.
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